Scotostimulation of reproductive neural pathways and gonadal maturation are not correlated with hypothalamic expression of deiodinases in subtropical spotted munia

Ila Mishra, Neha Agarwal, Sangeeta Rani, Vinod Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Circannual rhythm regulates the annual timing of reproduction in spotted munia, with sex differences in its relationship with the external photoperiod environment. Interestingly, munia show an atypical photosensitivity and exhibit gonadal maturation when acutely exposed to an unnatural short photoperiod (eg 3 hours of light per day; ie a long scotoperiod). The proximate mechanisms regulating scotoperiod-induced hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) activation are unclear. Because thyroid hormone signalling plays a central role in photoperiodic induction, we hypothesised the involvement of similar mechanism, comprising alterations in hypothalamic deiodinases, under long scotoperiod-induced HPG activation. To test this, several endpoints of cellular and molecular correlates were assayed in male and female munias after 1 and 4 weeks of exposure to an 3:21 hour light/dark cycle (3L:21D), with controls on a 21:3 hour light/dark cycle (21L:3D). We measured the hypothalamic expression of mRNA and protein of light-sensitive (neuropsin, OPN5) and reproductive (vasoactive intestinal peptide [VIP], neuropeptide Y [NPY], gonadotrophin-releasing hormone [GnRH], gonadotrophin-inhibiting hormone [GnIH]) neuropeptides by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemistry, respectively. In addition, we also measured mRNA expression of types 2 (DIO2) and 3 (DIO3) deiodinases that regulate triiodothyronine-mediated GnRH release and gonadal maturation in photoperiodic species. The quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry results were consistent. Higher OPN5 levels under 21L:3D than under 3L:21D suggested its role in sensing the length of the light period. Similarly, low VIP and high NPY expression under 3L:21D than under 21L:3D were consistent with their roles as cellular correlates of photic and nonphotic environment, respectively. High GnRH-I/low GnIH levels and gonadal recrudescence under 3L:21D, and an inverse pattern under 21L:3D, confirmed the scotostimulation of HPG axis in spotted munia. However, DIO2 and DIO3 mRNA levels did not differ between 2 scotoperiods, in contrast to their reciprocal expression pattern found during long-day photostimulation. We demonstrate for the first time sex-dependent scotostimulation of reproductive neural pathways and suggest the involvement of molecules other than hypothalamic deiodinases in the regulation of gonad development cycle in ‘nonphotoperiodic’ seasonally breeding vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12627
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 British Society for Neuroendocrinology


  • GnRH
  • deiodinase
  • neuropeptides
  • neuropsin
  • scotosensitivity
  • songbird

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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